Climate Change Sensitivity Database
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» Marine: Subtidal shallow
Marine: Subtidal shallow
Submitted by Jorge Tomasevic on Fri, 2012-06-01 15:31
Direct sensitivities to changes in temperature and precipitation:
There are two ways to consider a system's direct sensitivity to changes in temperature and precipitation; 1) Does the system inhabit a relatively narrow climatic zone(s) (making it more sensitive)? and 2) Does the system show large changes in composition or structure in response to relatively small changes in temperature or precipitation (making it more sensitive) or conversely, would it take much larger changes in temperature and precipitation to elicit a change in composition or structure (i.e., a less sensitive system)?
How sensitive is this system to temperature (means and extremes):
Confidence in the direct sensitivity to changes in temperature and precipitation:
How sensitive is this system to precipitation (means and extremes):
Marine systems were assessed during a March 2012 workshop of experts. The following are some general observations: Cloudiness and precipitation may be more important on the intertidal, but not as important on the subtidal.
More sensitive systems will show larger changes in composition or structure in response to small changes in indirect factors, such as disturbance regimes. Conversely, it would take much larger changes in these factors to elicit a change in composition or structure in less sensitive systems.
How sensitive is this system on one or more indirect factors:
Confidence in the sensitivity to indirect factors:
Please select all indirect factors upon which this habitat is sensitive:
Other, please describe in Comments below
Marine systems were assessed during a March 2012 workshop of experts. The following are the individual scores that experts identified (first number is sensitivity and the second is the associated confidence): Water temperature (6, 5) water chemistry (6, 5) sea-level rise (2, 4) flooding (3, 2) coastal erosion (4, 2) wave action (3, 2) currents (3, 2) storms (3, 2) disease (4, 2). Other (2, 1): turbidity and cloud cover (light alteration, blooms, etc) (6, 5). Water temperature. Affects what species are in the zone, productivity, stress on species and it affects physiology (production, respiration, nutrient cycling, O2 demand). Chemistry. Some of the factors affecting this system are: acidification, dO2 (dissolved O2), nutrients, stratification (ability for hypoxia to develop in benthos). Sea level rise. This zone will shift, determined by photic factors, physical constraints of substrate, intertidal. Experts don’t expect it to go away. Shifts of species will depend on water clarity (eelgrass migration, rate depends on dispersion). Rate of shift is also variable depending on rate of rise, water clarity, species composition (eelgrass can shift quickly with annual recruitment, kelps are slower). Flooding (freshwater input). Flooding may affect the hydrological regimes. Some places are rain dominated while others are snowmelt runoff dominated. The timing may be very different, and sometimes it may shift from one to another. Turbid water at surface can block light, transport sediment, impact photosynthesis. If turbidity persists, it can have longer term impact. Light penetration is major impact (maybe needs to be its own category), suite of factors affect light penetration, mixing of layers of water with variable turbidity levels. Cloud cover also affects photosynthesis as the amount and quality of light available is different. Bigger issue is the effect on light. Flooding is inherently not bad, but it can change the system based on timing, frequency, duration. Erosion (separate from turbidity). Rocky shores, armored shores will prevent sediment load. For example, at the Elwha River you find low sediment at 50ft. Turbidity levels will affect subtidal. Erosion is an important factor for maintaining and destroying habitats. Wave action. This system gets hammered in big storms which makes diversity decrease dramatically. Average wave height is steadily increasing in N. Pacific. This factor is less important than in intertidal. Currents. Large scale CA current important on coast and less important in the Puget Sound. Tidal currents shouldn’t change much. Experts expect that speed & direction of water particle movement will change, but they are not sure what it will be or how much. Also more water in Puget Sound will change currents. Storms. Freak waves, surges, and mixing will increase turbidity. Disease. Harmful algal blooms or blooms in general cause hypoxia. They are influenced by temperature & other stressors. Other: Light attenuation. Available light is reduced by turbidity and cloud cover. Turbidity results of storms & water temperature. Also flooding brings turbid top layer. Cloud cover is important defining light attenuation (clouds, wave action, turbidity, plankton blooms, silt coverage) as it brings biogenic habitat limitations.
Sensitivity to impacts of other stressors:
To what degree do other, non‐climate‐related threats to the system make it more sensitive to climate change:
Confidence in the degree to which non‐climate‐related threats affect the systems’ sensitivity to climate change:
Please select all of the stressors that make the system more sensitive to climate change::
Other, please describe in Comments below
Harvest: includes benthic and fishing impact. Other: aquaculture, dredging, groundwater discharge reduction. Several factors act to stress this system - including: pollution, exotic species, aquaculture (net-pens, subtidal), harvest (goeducks collection), effects of fishing on habitat, heavy metals, nutrients, underwater structure, even ferry boat operation. Some human uses can affect light attenuation, such as overwater structures, harvest, and ferries. Groundwater discharge affects temperature, salinity, and nutrients. It impacts less the subtidal than intertidal.
Are there other critical factors that have not been addressed that will likely make this system more sensitive to climate change?*
Please include any other factor that you may consider critical to understand the potential response of this system to climate change that was not represented with the previous questions. If no other factors apply, please leave it blank but specify your confidence associated with this question.
Collectively, to what degree do these factors make the system sensitive to climate change:
Confidence in the degree to which these factors make this system sensitive to climate change:
What weight should these factors have on the overall sensitivity of this system to climate change:
Other factors that may influence the sensitivity of this system are: light, human population (people moving in to area, accelerating impacts), sediment loads from rivers due to glacial retreat & heavy rainfall (for example, Skagit Bay). Physical factors could change/move, but biota may not, or have a lag before actually moving/adapting.
Overall User Ranking
This question is not included in the sensitivity score.
Overall User Ranking:
In your opinion, how would you rank the overall sensitivity of this system to climate change:
Confidence in your overall assessment of the sensitivity of this system to climate change:
Experts assess that this system is less resilient than others.
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